SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Matt Cain and his $127.5 million contract proved to be no match for a Cuban defector making his major league debut for San Diego.
Cain allowed six runs in 7 1-3 innings to drop his third straight decision and the San Francisco Giants hitters were shut down by Odrisamer Despaigne in a 6-0 loss to the Padres on Monday night.
"He's human. I'm sure he's frustrated," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the struggling Cain. "I can tell you he's probably getting a little tired of it. He gives you all he has every game he pitches, and he did tonight. We couldn't get any runs for him. It was a better outing but I'm sure it's wearing on him."
Cain (1-6) gave up three runs in the fourth and three more in the eighth and has only one win in 12 starts this season as he struggled to pitch up to his lucrative contract.
"I've been throwing the ball good but I haven't been making the pitch that I need to here and there to shut down an inning," Cain said. "I need to do a better job of doing that. I think everything else will work itself out but I've got to make those pitches."
Cain has also been hurt by a lack of support as the Giants have scored just six runs in his past five starts.
They couldn't even come through against Despaigne, who was called up earlier Monday to replace the injured Andrew Cashner despite posting a 6.03 ERA in seven minor league starts in his first season as a professional.
But Despaigne (1-0) was outstanding in seven innings against the Giants. He kept batters off-balance all game by changing his arm angle and mixing in big, slow curveballs with his harder pitches. He allowed four hits and became the seventh pitcher in the past 100 years to throw at least seven scoreless innings with no walks in his first career start.
Despaigne had the element of surprise in his favor as the Giants had not even seen him pitch in spring training.
"At this point in the year you've kind of seen everything but he was just on," right fielder Hunter Pence said. "He was locating, he had the ball moving a lot of different directions. He threw me pretty much everything. He didn't really leave too much over the plate. I think he just mixed it up the whole game."